A century of African American culture

A surge of music, style and opportunity over the past hundred years have allowed black culture to flourish and truly immerse itself into American culture as a whole. A number of defining events since the Roaring 20s have allowed the marginalized group to thrive and become a driving force behind the mindset of the American people, including the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and–less severe but just as important–the music.

“We’ve had a huge influence,” Jaylen Caver (11) said. “Anywhere from rock, hip hop, r&b–we’ve just been ruling it.”

There have also been major instances where the media put forth awe-inspiring publications and showcases, including the notable “Black Panther,” “The Princess and the Frog” and Coachella turned “Beychella,” Beyoncé’s headlining and takeover of the 2018 Coachella Music Festival. 

“Seeing my youngest sister have Doc McStuffins and Princess and the Frog and all this…” Marissa Pittman (12) said. “It’s wonderful [that] young people are able to see themselves in the media.”

Visionaries like Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama and even Oprah Winfrey have made strides toward changing the perception of black people in the media and in the world. 

“I feel more agency that with technology, African Americans feel more connected to the issues, and they have greater platforms,” African American history teacher Rachel Davis said. “With the election of a black president, I feel that African Americans feel a little bit more keyed into the system…that they can make more changes.”

Still, advancement and progress don’t necessarily mean that all the hard work is done, especially when it comes to shared spaces. 

“We’ve made great strides, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” Pittman said.

As Davis says, it is impossible to believe anything other than the fact that “African American culture is American culture.”